Dear Mrs. Claus,
When I was a little girl, I would stay awake in my Holly Hobby bed for as long as I could on Christmas Eve imagining, picturing, willing my ears to hear Santa’s sleigh bells on the roof of my little house. Back then, it was Santa I needed to believe in– that charming, blue-eyed, hardworking, red cheeked husband of yours who would deliver toys to the good boys and girls of the world.
Now, I need to believe in you, Mrs. Claus.
In the above picture, I’m trying to get a handle on the Christmas scene which recently exploded in our home. You could try to imagine the words coming from my mouth, and I’m clearly taking a moment in the “stop and think it over chair” stuck in between boxes of ornaments, snow pants and boots, and even some laundry.
My kids are little and smart and full of questions about why we donate toys to the Christmas Toy Chest in our town. “Mommy, why do we need a toy drive? Santa brings toys to all the good boys and girls. You just have to be good.” I explain that we are just trying to help Santa out a bit as his job is enormous and many hands make light work in making dreams come true for children everywhere. Plus, Santa might bring one special toy and parents also want to be able to give their children a gift, which can be really hard in certain circumstances. So, the toy chest helps families who are having a hard time for one reason or another.
“So being good sometimes isn’t enough?” What would you, Mrs. Claus, say, between managing the many elves in and out of the North Pole, decorating, baking cookies, organizing Mr. Claus? There has to be some kind of turnover in that line of work, and we all recognize it is not Santa who brings the new guys and gals up to speed on the toy line. You are also the one making the check up vet appointments for the reindeer before their big journey– and making sure they get there on time. You are the one filling the prescriptions for infections or hoof issues or taking care of Santa’s psoriasis. I know you are the one making all that happen behind the scenes. Don’t get me wrong; we know you married a wonderful man, but even Santa himself can’t be responsible for all the magic that happens at Christmas.
To my daughter’s question about being good not being enough, I imagine you, Mrs. Claus, might snug her close, smile, and say something about being good all the year through and how we all must look after one another and not depend entirely on Santa. After all, he is just one man with many folks chipping in to help. You would be calm and smiling and gentle in tone as opposed to me screaming, “If you want to bake cookies, then you need to let me put away the groceries…If we are going to decorate our tree, you need to first let me drag the goddam thing in the house and secure it to the wall first.” No, Mrs. Claus, I honestly didn’t say “goddam” but I wanted to. They are just so excited, and I want to savor in that joy, in this magic of Christmas– every minute of it– but it’s all just sometimes too much.
Mrs. Claus, my favorite Christmas special as a kid and even now as an adult is “Rudolph” you know the one with the land of misfit toys? The night we put up our tree, we usually have that playing in the background. You know what happened this year, Mrs. Claus? We could not find the remote control for the DVD player, and it was one of those players that couldn’t operate without the remote control. So in the middle of decorating the tree, I pulled out the TV stand and searched in countless dustballs amidst 72 different cords for something resembling a remote. “Did you find it, Mom, did you find it, Mom, did you find it, Mom?” No, I’m sorry, but I did find a few pens, plastic rings, an ornament from last Christmas, and an old lollipop. Awesome, right, Mrs. Claus?
But this afternoon, after cleaning our fish and turtle tanks, the kids and I are going to bake cookies. We promise to do right by you and Santa on Christmas Eve. We’ve made some reindeer snacks with oats and sparkles. I’ll remind myself to be strong like Mrs. Claus– Christmas doesn’t just happen because of the face guy, Santa. I’m also fairly certain there are no sexual misconduct allegations happening up there in the North Pole. Any villagers or elves even try to sexually harass someone or speak to them fearfully or inappropriately are probably exiled immediately, and I bet you are the one handling that paperwork too.
We talk about Jesus being born on Christmas Day and why it’s better to give than to receive, but it all really just raises a lot of questions that even with my Masters Degree in Education, I feel ill prepared to handle. So, we do what all parents trying to be good do in the world; we make stuff up and hope they believe us.
Here’s to you, Mrs. Claus, for all the good you do to make Santa shine on Christmas.